Session Law

2014

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Chapter 120 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE BOARD OF HEALTH IN THE CITY OF WORCESTER

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the city of Worcester may by ordinance, adopted under the reorganization provision of its home rule charter, provide for a board of health to exercise the authority vested in boards of health by section 31 of chapter 111 of the General Laws or any other General Law relative to boards of health in cities and towns. The board shall consist of 5 members. 
     The ordinance shall provide that the 5 voting members of the board shall be appointed by the city manager who shall also designate 1 member as the chair of the board.  All members shall serve at the pleasure of the city manager, except that no member shall be removed from office solely on account of any vote or position taken on any matter pending before or decided by the board. The ordinance shall further provide that the composition of the board shall represent the diversity of the city and shall be drawn from the business, educational, public health, engineering and legal communities of Worcester and shall include individuals who exhibit the twenty-first century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, communications and creativity. 
The initial appointments to the board shall be as follows: 1 member shall be appointed for 1 year; 1 member for 2 years; 1 member for 3 years; 1 member for 4 years; and 1 member for 5 years.  Thereafter all members shall serve for a term of 5 years and may continue thereafter as members of the board until the appointment and confirmation of their successor, who shall serve for the balance of the term for which they were appointed.  All members may be reappointed in accordance with the provisions and limitations of the city charter.
     SECTION 2.  The ordinance, adopted under section 1, shall require the city manager of the city of Worcester to appoint a chief executive officer of the city department.  The chief executive officer shall be responsible for performing public health functions and shall have either:  (a) the degree of doctor of medicine from a medical school accredited by the American Medical Association; or (b) a masters degree in public health or a field related to public health together with practical experience and education in public health work, which is deemed suitable by the city manager.  The chief executive officer shall perform and exercise the duties and powers authorized by law and city ordinance, which shall include responsibility for the oversight and direction of the city department of public health and the administration of programs, personnel, property and budgets assigned or appropriated to the department. 
     The ordinance, adopted under section 1, shall require the city department responsible for performing public health functions to have, in its table of authorized positions, a position of medical director. The medical director shall be qualified by receipt of the degree of doctor of medicine from a medical school accredited by the American Medical Association.  In the event of an emergency requiring immediate action in the interest of public health, where it is not practicable for the board of health to convene, the medical director may issue any orders reasonably necessary to address the public health emergency and may issue emergency regulations on behalf of the board of health until the board is able to convene to ratify, revise or rescind the regulations issued by the medical director.  In the event that the medical director is not immediately available during the emergency, the authority shall be exercised by the chief executive officer.  An emergency order, issued under this section, shall be subject to the superseding authority of the city manager acting in the city manager’s capacity under the city charter as the chief conservator of the peace of the city.  In the event of a vacancy or temporary absence in either the office of the chief executive officer or the office of medical director, the city manager may appoint a suitable individual to perform the duties of the office until the vacancy is filled or the absence terminated.
     SECTION 3.  No member of the board of health or advisory committee constituted under authority of this act shall receive compensation either from the city or from any other institution or person for their service as a member of the board.  Chapter 268A of the General Laws shall apply to all members of the board.  In the event that the chief executive officer, medical director or any member of the board is unable to act on a particular matter due to a potential conflict of interest, the city manager may appoint a temporary member to act in the individual’s place in that particular matter.
      SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.  Upon the effective date of any reorganization ordinance adopted under this act chapter 181 of the acts of 1953, as amended by chapter 797 of the acts of 1970, shall be repealed and the offices provided for therein shall be terminated.

Approved, June 6, 2014.